Master's Thesis

PSIA students have the option of undertaking a master's thesis, in lieu of an internship or a semester exchange at a partner university. Sciences Po Academic rules in Article 37 specify that Master curricula include “a semester of extramural activities” and “as applicable…a Master thesis.”

This is a selective track offered to PSIA students, who must apply for the opportunity. Only the strongest proposals are approved by PSIA's scientific community. Every year, this track produces highly relevant and successful research work, and we are proud to showcase examples of outstanding Master's theses from the past years.


PSIA Master Thesis’ Regulations

  • Course consistency: undertaking a Master’s Thesis is optional and the approval of the Academic Advisor is necessary.
  • Individuality: The Master Thesis is an individual research project, it cannot be done in a group ;
  • Thesis Director: The research project is conducted under the direction of a faculty specialist in the same subject area. Please note that Sciences Po faculty will be preferred. The academic advisor approves the choice;
  • Prerequisites: Students interested in pursuing a Master’s Thesis must enroll in and validate two courses within the “Methods” concentration during the first year of their master’s program;
  • The Master's thesis track is open only to students who must register for a third semester "hors les murs", as per the Sciences Po regulation. Students who are enrolled in a one-year Master program, as well as dual degree students who spend only their first year at PSIA, are waived from this obligation, and they are not eligible for the Master thesis track.
  • The thesis defence will constitute both the validation of the Master's thesis as well as the required Grand Oral.

The Master Thesis Track is mainly directed at students with previous work experience presumably waiving the internship requirement, or students aiming for a PhD / academic career.

Master's Thesis: Q&A

Proposal Documents (to be sent to the Academic Advisor):

  • Curriculum Vitae
  • Cover letter (students must indicate the two methods coruses they have taken at PSIA, or describe methods courses and any research internships undertaken prior to PSIA, attaching transcripts of any previous methodology coursework from another institution).
  • Research proposal (5 pages, single-spaced, Times New Roman 12, not including bibliography). Students may want to include the following sections: literature review; research question; proposed research design; information about empirical data and/or modalities of field work if relevant.
  • Reference letter from the potential Thesis Director
  • Transcript of the first semester at PSIA, and a list of courses they are enrolled in for the second semester.

Fieldwork: When required, field research may be undertaken within the third semester;
Exemptions: Students producing a Master Thesis may receive exemptions from:

  • The mandatory 14 week internship.

Thesis: The Master Thesis length is between 20,000 and 30,000 words, excluding appendices. Three hardcopies must be deposited at PSIA's Secrétariat, and a Word or PDF version of the Thesis must be sent to the Thesis Director, who convenes the jury. 

Format of Thesis: Overview

Jury: The defence jury is composed of three members approved by PSIA and must include:

  • The Thesis Director
  • An Expert in the field of research (professional or scholar)
  • A faculty or administrative officer representative of the student’s Master (in charge of reporting)
  • At least one member of the defence jury should be a university professor or researcher

Thesis Defense: consists of two parts: a 10 minute presentation then a 20 minute discussion with the examiners

Validation: The validation of the Master Thesis will bear 30 credits.

Master Thesis Calendar:

First Year at PSIA:
1. First and second semesters of study: Concerned students are required to register for two courses within the“ Methods” concentration
2. March 16, 2020: Submission of proposal documents to the academic advisor by 2 pm
3. April 2020: Confirmation of the Master Thesis Track by the PSIA academic advisor for the 3rd semester.  This is, in any case, subject to the results of the M1 as a whole

Second Year at PSIA:
4. September – December: Third semester (Hors les murs);
5. March 31, 2020: Master Thesis deposit: three hard copies to be submitted at PSIA offices (Academic Advisor’s office or Secretariat) and an electronic version to be sent to
6. April – May 2020: Master Thesis Defense

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